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Am J Med Genet. 1993 Jan 15;45(2):187-92.

Osteogenesis imperfecta: the distinction from child abuse and the recognition of a variant form.

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Department of Biochemical Medicine, University of Dundee, Scotland.


Unexplained fractures are characteristic of both osteogenesis imperfecta (OI) and non-accidental injury (NAI) but in most cases the diagnosis is straightforward. However, in a few OI patients an initial diagnosis of NAI is made. Factors contributing to such difficulties include failure to recognise that OI can occur without a family history, without blue sclerae, without osteopenia, without an excess of Wormian bones, or with metaphyseal fractures. In addition we report on 39 patients with an unusual history in that fractures only occurred in the first year of life. Rib fractures, metaphyseal abnormalities and periosteal reactions were common. The initial diagnosis was usually OI if the fractures occurred in hospital, but NAI if they appeared to have been sustained at home. Additional findings such as anaemia, vomiting, hepatomegaly, and apnoeic attacks were often found in these patients. The disorder has some similarities to the syndrome of infantile copper deficiency. Like the latter it is particularly common in preterm infants and in twins. Therefore, we are attempting to examine the incidence of significant hypocupraemia in unselected preterm infants. We suggest that the likely cause of this "temporary brittle bone disease" is a temporary deficiency of an enzyme, perhaps a metalloenzyme, involved in the post-translational processing of collagen.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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